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So you want to be a consultant...

Posted By Patrick Burgwinkle, Monday, November 21, 2011

Washington is full of firms and organizations looking to hire talented people to do the specialized work that keeps Washington humming. Direct mail, database management, digital media, TV, fundraising – every aspect of a campaign has corresponding firms here in DC that help Democrats go out and win elections.

All of those consultants and firms are in addition to the non-profit and issue advocacy organizations that call DC home. The League of Conservation Voters, J Street, and Choice USA are all examples of organizations attending Democratic GAIN’s Career Fair that are looking for talented individuals to help them pursue their agendas and achieve their policy goals.

Do you think you have something to offer a firm, consultant, or organization? Do you have expertise in one area of politics that could be put to use by a progressive non-profit?

If you’ve ever thought about getting into consulting or working for an organization, check out what Alix DeJean of the Dewey Square Group has to say about what it’s like working as a consultant:

"Working for a consulting firm presents different challenges from working on a campaign. On campaigns, you often have to be a generalist- everyone pitches in. As a consultant working at a firm, you have to apply your expertise in fundraising or direct mail or communications to provide a particular service to a campaign. You work with multiple clients, each with different needs but the same high expectations for the quality of your work. Every client has to be a priority and that presents different challenges from working on a campaign as a staffer.”

If you’re working for a non-profit or progressive advocacy organization, many of the same principles apply. You’re going to have to demonstrate that the skills you bring to the table are going to help the organization achieve its policy goals. Your passion for a particular issue can be a great asset. When working on a campaign, you have to elect one person with a variety of issue positions. At an environmental organization, you’re able to focus solely on the environmental issues that really motivate you.

Whether you want to work as a consultant at a firm or as part of a non-profit or issue advocacy organization, the Democratic GAIN Career Fair is great place to be. We’ll have dozens of firms and organizations looking for smart, talented people heading into 2012.

Be sure to check out all of the organizations and firms that are going to be at the Democratic GAIN Career Fair!

Tags:  2012  Career Fair  Consultant  Consulting  Issue Advocacy  Non-Profit 

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So you want to manage a campaign...

Posted By Patrick Burgwinkle, Monday, November 14, 2011

Do you think you have what it takes to manage a campaign?

Every campaign, from State Representative to President, needs a manager. The campaign manager is responsible for writing the campaign plan, creating the campaign budget, and hiring staff that will execute the campaign plan.

Being a campaign manager requires you to manage relationships. The relationship between campaign manager and candidate is the most important relationship that a campaign manager has to cultivate. The candidate is your boss, but the candidate also relies on you to make decisions about how they should spend their time. This is where "managing up” comes in. You have to be able to disagree with your candidate when they want to deviate from the campaign plan. You have to be willing to tell them that call time needs to take priority over marching in a parade this week or that, no matter the outcome of past elections, ordering more campaign t-shirts is not the best use of the campaign’s money.

Simone Ward is the President of Democratic GAIN’s Board of Directors and managed Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s 2010 reelection campaign. Here is what she had to say about managing a campaign:

"Managing a campaign means you have to be a jack of all trades. You need to understand what your consultants, staff, and candidate are thinking and doing. You’re in charge of the campaign’s budget, too. It’s your job to set the overall strategy for the campaign and then manage the people and relationships that will help your campaign follow that strategy to victory. It is also means managing up. The candidate is your boss, but it’s your responsibility to get the candidate to stick with the campaign plan. That sometimes means telling the candidate, ‘No.’”

As campaign manager, you are the nexus for internal communication. It’s your job to keep your staff and consultants on the same page when executing the campaign plan. There will be a number of people who will be more than happy to tell you how your campaign should be run and how you should be doing things. That’s why writing and sticking to a campaign plan is so important.

A campaign manager at their best runs an operation where the different components of the campaign – field, finance, communication, consultants – are working in concert. You set the goals for each department that will help the campaign achieve its overall goal: winning the election. You need to make sure field is knocking on the right number of doors and that finance is raising the amount of money they need to. If anyone is falling behind, the campaign manager has to step in and help them get back on track because the campaign manager is responsible for every decision, success, and shortfall on a campaign.

Think you’re up to the challenge? Come to the Democratic GAIN career fair and meet with the professionals and organizations that are staffing up for 2012!

See you in December!

Tags:  2012  Campaign Manger  Campaigns  Career Fair 

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So you want to work in field...

Posted By Patrick Burgwinkle, Monday, November 7, 2011

Field wins close races.

It’s as simple as that. That one extra round of door knockers you sent out or that extra hour of phone banking can make the difference when a race is coming down to a couple hundred votes.

At its most basic, field strategy is simple: identify the people who will vote for you and then make sure those people show up to vote on Election Day. At its best though, Field is about empowering people to bring your candidates message directly to their neighbors. It’s about inspiring people to give some their time and energy for a cause they believe in.

If you want to work as a Field Organizer or Field Director on a campaign, you need to be a people person. You need to be able to work with volunteers and manage volunteers. It can be delicate balance between effectively managing people and respecting the time they’re giving to your campaign.

Marlon Marshall is currently Deputy National Field Director for President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign. Here is what he had to say about Field organizing:

"Organizing is about building and maintaining connections between people and your campaign. Whether volunteers are making phone calls, holding signs, or knocking on doors, they’re making those connections to voters and the community. Going door-to-door works because it’s personal—one person talking to another, neighbor to neighbor. Online organizing was key in 2008 because friends reached out to friends over email or on Facebook, helping build that personal connection to the campaign. Those online and offline personal connections are what make the difference on Election Day.”

Field work is an excellent way to break into the Political Campaign world. It requires long hours and lots of patience. You’ll be spending a lot of time organizing door knocking shifts, phone banks, recruiting volunteers, and managing data – lots of data.

Contact rates, Positive IDs, ID rates, turf, and call lists are all a part of the Field worker’s daily routine. Successful data management is the foundation of any good GOTV program. You have to know who your voters are and where they are if you are planning on turning them out to vote on Election Day.

Check out the 2011 Democratic GAIN Career Fair for opportunities to work in Field and Organizing in 2012!

Tags:  2012  Career Fair  Field Director  Field Organizer 

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So you want to work in communications...

Posted By Patrick Burgwinkle, Monday, October 31, 2011

In politics, your message can be everything. If you can’t communicate with your voters, activists, or constituents, you’re not going to be able to achieve your goals.

At the Democratic GAIN career fair, there will be many organizations looking for qualified candidates to join their communications teams.

There are no shortage of firms and organizations in Washington who need communication professionals. Party organizations, labor unions, consulting firms, non-profits, and advocacy organizations all need professional communications teams to help them achieve their goals.

Democratic GAIN board member Mary Rickles is the Communications Director of Netroots Nation. She had this to say about what it takes to succeed in the political communication game:

"Effective communication is the foundation for all successful organizing—whether you’re running for office, raising money for an organization or collecting petition signatures for your favorite cause. Being able to craft a concise, compelling story (ever heard someone talk about the "story of self?”) and make it relatable to the people you’re trying to reach is the first step. Combine good storytelling with strong social media savvy and the ability to work with the media and you’re on your way to being a rock star communications staffer."

If you think about successful progressive candidates and organizations, they all have messages that are concise, compelling, and relatable.

If you’re looking to break into political communication, start thinking about where on your resume you can you highlight communications skills. Have you ever had to take a complex idea and explain it other people in a way that was easy to understand? Have you ever been in a position that required you to write a lot? Were deadlines ever a regular part of any past experience you might have?

There will be plenty at the Career Fair for established communications professionals, too. If you’re looking to make the jump from campaigns to labor, non-profit, or consulting, those fields will be well represented.

Whether you’re just starting out or are just looking to change jobs, there will be plenty for communications professionals at GAIN’s career fair.

Sign up today for GAIN’s 2011 Career Fair!

Tags:  Career Fair  Communications  Jobs  Messaging 

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Tips for Career Fair Attendees

Posted By Alexandra Acker Lyons, Thursday, January 7, 2010
Democratic GAIN's Career Fair is just two weeks away!

Don't waste time -- here are some tips for how you can put your best face forward and impress employers!
  1. Update your profile and upload your resume on the GAIN website.  Often, employers will search the site for candidates who fit their criteria rather than posting the job publicly (or they'll do both!)
  2. Attend GAIN's resume workshop on Wednesday, January 20th.  
  3. Can't attend or won't be in DC?  Check out our resume tips.
  4. Be sure to attend GAIN's Networking Happy Hour on Thursday, January 21st.  If you're already registered for the Career Fair, you don't need to register for the Happy Hour.
  5. If you're unemployed, print up some business cards at home to pass out as you network.
  6. Do your homework!  We're updating our list of confirmed employers every day -- if you're not familiar with the organization, check out their website and see if they have posted current openings.
Be sure to bring plenty of copies of your updated resume with you to the Career Fair!

Tags:  career advice  career fair  job advice  job search  job seeking 

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More Employers sign up for Career Fair

Posted By Alexandra Acker Lyons, Tuesday, January 5, 2010
More employers have signed up to attend Democratic GAIN's Career Fair!
They're hiring NOW for campaigns, non-profits, issue advocacy, labor organizing, consulting firms, and more!

Check out our current list -- growing every day:
  • Democracy for America
  • Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
  • Democratic Governors Association
  • Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
  • EMILY’s List
  • FieldWorks
  • Field Strategies
  • Grassroots Campaigns
  • Mammen Group
  • National Education Association
  • Organizing for America
  • Parkside Group
  • SEIU
  • Winning Connections
Haven't signed up for the Career Fair yet?  Register today!

Tags:  career fair  employers  get a job  job seeking  jobs 

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GAIN Career Fair!

Posted By Alexandra Acker Lyons, Thursday, December 17, 2009
Democratic GAIN is pleased to announce that we will be hosting a CAREER FAIR on Friday, January 22nd in Washington, DC.  This is a great opportunity for you to find your next job opportunity in politics!

We have already confirmed these top employers:
  • Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
  • Democratic Governors Association
  • Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
  • EMILY’s List
  • National Education Association
  • Organizing for America
  • SEIU
Of course, as more and more employers confirm their attendance at the Career Fair, we will keep you posted!

Want to come?  Here’s what to do:

First, register online. If you’re a GAIN member, the Career Fair is just $10 (you must be logged in to get your discount!).  For non-members, the Career Fair is $20.  You must pick one session to attend – morning or afternoon. 

Second, be sure to update your profile at  Make sure all of your employment information is up to date and that you have uploaded your resume.  Often, employers will search our resume database without posting a job publicly.

Third, attend one of our resume workshops to make sure your resume will get noticed at the Career Fair!

Career Fair participants will also receive a free ticket to GAIN’s Networking Happy Hour on Thursday, January 21st at SEIU.  And, at the Career Fair, you can sign up to receive one-on-one career assistance and advice from political veterans.

Again, GAIN members receive a 50% discount!  Not a GAIN member?  This is the perfect time to join!

Tags:  career fair  employers  get a job  job seeking  jobs 

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Another Successful Career Fair

Posted By Nikki Enfield, Monday, February 9, 2009

Saturday’s Career Fair at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ was so much fun! First of all, it was great to get out of DC and meet a whole new group of employers and individuals. Secondly, the panel discussions rocked – thank you so much to all of our panelists for joining and lending their expertise. I’ve gotten dozens of emails over the weekend from attendees and participants who were just so pleased with everything.

The NJ event would not have happened had it not been for the hard work of Steve Ayscue in NJ and Matt Albert helping with NY. Thank you both so much!

We are interested in doing more events outside of the Washington area. Partnering with someone on the ground helps create great events for all who come. If you want to bring a career fair or networking happy hour to your area, please feel free to contact us and we’ll see what we can do.

Tags:  career fair  events 

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Career Fair at NOI's RootsCampDC a success!

Posted By Nikki Enfield, Thursday, December 18, 2008
Career Fair

This past weekend, Democratic GAIN partnered with the New Organizing Institute (NOI) to host a Democratic and Progressive Career Fair in conjunction with NOI's RootsCampDC weekend.  These events, which were held at Trinity College in Northeast DC, were not only well- attended, but were also deemed to be a great success by both employers and participants.

Over the course of the two day event, participants attended break-out sessions, panel discussions and the career fair, all of which were designed to not only help them connect with their fellow organizers, but also to provide insight into how they can further their careers in progressive politics and advocacy.

On Saturday, Democratic GAIN sponsored two discussions about finding a job and working in various political fields.  Our “How to work in Advocacy” discussion was led by Greg Speed, Executive Director of America Votes; Cathy Duvall, Political Director at Sierra Club; and Tanya Tarr, Political Research Analyst at AFSCME and our “How to Work on the Hill” discussion was led by Chris Chwastyk, Chief of Staff to Rep. Chet Edwards; Danny O’Brien, Chief of Staff to Sen. Bob Menendez; and Lona Valmoro, Senior Advisor to Sen. Hillary Clinton.  The panelists at both discussions shared the stories of their personal pathways to success and gave advice, feedback and encouragement to the participants.  Democratic GAIN would like to extend a special “thank you” to our panelists for taking time out of their Saturday’s to impart their wisdom and knowledge to the next generation of political leaders.
The general message from the panelists was:
  1. Do good work
  2. Network, network, network
  3. Get your foot in the door (even if that means interning or taking what you think is a job below your skillset for a little while)
  4. Don’t give up.
If you were unable to attend the discussions, you can read my own story and advice here.

    Career FairSunday’s Career Fair showcased nearly 50 diverse employers from the democratic party and progressive movement, including (but not limited to) House & Senate Democrats, DNC, Democratic Party of Virginia, AFSCME, AFL-CIO, Democracy for America, DLCC, and many, many other amazing unions, consultants, higher education establishments, and advocacy organizations.  Participants were afforded the opportunity to speak with these employers about their organizations and their plans for 2009 while also learning about their current and future staffing needs.

    Democratic GAIN would like to extend special thank you to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and their teams for representing both the House and Senate Democrats at the Career Fair, as well as all of the representatives from the various employers who were on-hand to discuss the various opportunities available to participants.

    If you were unable to attend the Career Fair but would like to get your resume in front of these organizations, make sure it is updated and posted on the Democratic GAIN website!  Many employers reminded participants that they often don’t post their open positions and only search the resume database when hiring.

    On a final note, Democratic GAIN would like to express our thanks to all of the organizers, volunteers, participants and employers, all of whom made both the Career Fair and RootsCamp a huge success. We value your participation, and look forward to a bright future for the progressive movement!

    We are having another Career Fair in New Jersey on Saturday, February 7th.  Details are still being hashed out, but keep checking the Democratic GAIN Calendar, and make sure you are on our email list for more information as it becomes available!

    Tags:  career fair  events 

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    What's next?

    Posted By Nikki Enfield, Friday, November 14, 2008

    Did you just finish the campaign cycle?  Looking for the next career move?

    Are you a campaign, consultant, advocacy group or labor union looking to do big things in 2009?

    Then Democratic GAIN is here to help.

    GAIN Career FairWhether you're a cause looking for talent or a talent looking for a cause, then the next Democratic GAIN Career Fair is right around the corner.

    Democratic GAIN Career Fairs are the best place for employers looking for talented staff and political professionals looking for their next opportunity to connect to one another. Please join us for the first Career Fair following the 2008 election to find your next employee or employer!

    DC Career Fair
    Sunday, December 14: 11 AM - 3 PM
    Trinity College
    125 Michigan Ave NE
    Washington, DC 20017

    You can register here.  Don't miss out on this great event!

    Tags:  career fair  employers  events  job seeking 

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